Judge Drops LA Police Official From Harassment Suit

A judge threw out claims of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment by a Los Angeles police detective who said she was demoted and transferred while other officers who had affairs with her boss got special treatment.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William F. Fahey also dismissed
claims against Ya-May Christle's one-time supervisor, former Deputy
Chief Michael Berkow.

Berkow, who has since become chief of police in Savannah, Ga., said his removal from the lawsuit was a relief.

"In the courtroom, the judge said it perfectly: There is no admissible evidence to support the plaintiff's claims," said Berkow, who had not previously discussed the case publicly.

Fahey said in his ruling he did not believe Christle lost any job opportunities because she was not sexually involved with Berkow.

She "presents no admissible evidence that she ever applied for, and was denied, any position which was given to any other female officer who was allegedly having an affair with Berkow," Fahey wrote.

The judge's ruling eliminated Christle's chance of being awarded punitive damages, but she can still be compensated for wages lost if she can prove she was wrongly demoted and transferred.

A trial is scheduled for Monday on Christle's remaining claims, which involve her contention she was retaliated against for reporting Berkow's alleged indiscretions.

"You never like to see any part of a case dismissed, but she still has her retaliation claims and that's where all the damages flow from," Christle's lawyer, Bradley C. Gage, said.

Christle sued the city and Berkow in May 2006, claiming she was demoted from sergeant to detective for objecting to his alleged sexual misconduct with other female police officers.

Gage also maintained that Christle was in a hostile work environment because he treated her differently than he did the women with whom he was allegedly having affairs.

Berkow acknowledged having an extramarital affair with a female officer while in Los Angeles, but said he didn't supervise her.

Berkow headed the Los Angeles Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau before becoming chief in Savannah last September.

He was Christle's supervisor when she was a sergeant in Internal
Affairs.


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